Ottawa police are pushing for tougher rules when it comes to buying replica guns.

The force says the guns are not only dangerous, but they're also used to commit crimes, sometimes ending with deadly consequences.

That's what happened in March 2009, when an Ottawa man was fatally shot by police when officers responded to an armed robbery at a TD Canada Trust branch on Montreal Road.

The province's Special Investigations Unit, which probes all police incidents involving the public that end in serious injury or death, cleared the police officers involved in the shooting.

When police responded to the call, Paul Jeffrey, 27, was spotted fleeing the area on foot, with what appeared to be a black pistol. At one point, he told an officer he might shoot, according to the SIU's report.

Following a foot chase, officers opened fire near Rideau High School. According to the SIU, there was no evidence to determine which police officer fired the fatal bullet.

The SIU concluded the officers had an "honest and reasonable belief" that Jeffrey was prepared to use lethal force against them - despite the fact the gun he waved turned out to be a replica.

Police say 40 per cent of firearms seized from Ottawa's streets are replica, pellet or air guns -- some are even toys.

The Canadian Firearms Act currently does not apply to imitation firearms that don't shoot past 500 feet per second. However, police tests show it only takes a shot at 214 feet per second to cause serious bodily harm.

In Ontario, people must be 18 years old to buy an air or pellet gun. Still, the past-president of the Canada Safety Council says there needs to be even greater restrictions.

It's very easy to get your hands on one of these guns, said Emile Therien.

Now, it's up to the federal government to make replica weapons tougher to acquire. However, Ottawa police say that decision is easy.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua and files from Andrew Thomson